In Blog

Collaborating with the tech community

United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT) and technology leader Citrix  are collaborating on UWGT’s 2016 Social Innovation Challenge to end childhood hunger, 100K Kids Hungry No More.

The partnership is a natural fit for two worlds that may not often collide–technology and nonprofits. It came together when UWGT’s Allison Warren-Barbour and Citrix’s Bill O’Boyle met through Leadership Raleigh. Through conversation, they discovered a mutual interest in mission-driven opportunities for talent development and recruitment.

O’Boyle was looking for special opportunities for his business development team to sharpen its skills, specifically its capacity “to solve big problems” while Warren-Barbour was seeking to engage the intellectual capital of the Triangle to take on pressing social issues like food insecurity.

The two got their respective teams together and a match was struck.

Last year’s Challenge offered $50,000 in prize money to the best idea for reducing childhood hunger in the Triangle. Out of 50 applications, Jim Keaten, Childhood Nutrition Director for Durham Public Schools, won with his universal breakfast in the classroom pilot program. As a result of the award, over 280,000 additional breakfast meals during school and summer as well as nearly 150,000 summer lunch meals to feed kids in Durham.

This year, United Way and Citrix will employ a GoToMarket strategy developed by O’Boyle’s team, with goals to double the number of participants, engage more companies from the technology industry, and increase the Challenge prize pool to $100,000.

It’s a win-win.

From O’Boyle’s perspective, this opportunity allows Citrix employees a way to contribute to the Triangle community by creating what Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter calls shared value — generating economic value in a way that also produces value for society by addressing its challenges. He’s found it so meaningful to talent development and recruitment that he’s added the skills-based project to his team’s fourth quarter KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), giving his team an edge with top talent looking for ways to marry professional ambition with community service.

“Connecting social problem-solving with KPI’s allows us to show employees that giving back is a not just a nicety but a priority for Citrix and will act as a way to attract young talent who enjoy the concept of working with the community,” says O’Boyle.

Many of the Citrix team find that having community-oriented KPIs only affirms their choice of Citrix as an employer that allows them to “bring their entire self to the office,” according to team member, Ted Kirk.   The ability to overlay the expertise utilized every day to build new relationships for Citrix upon some of our region’s most complex social issues is a natural extension that will benefit both the community and Citrix’s bottom line.

“Just as United Way’s new collaborative approach in the community is forging new partnerships and creating different ways of working together, the Citrix/UWGT partnership ushers in a new era of solving social issues through purpose-driven employment, directly linking doing good business to doing good” reflected Allison Warren-Barbour.

We can go farther in solving complex challenges in our community by working together, leveraging the diverse experiences that our partners bring to the table. In the end, the community as a whole wins.